This week, Cory talks to music management veteran Paul Rosenberg, who famously became Eminem’s manager and recently the CEO of record label giant Def Jam. Paul describes his humble beginnings as a pre-med student and how he experienced a 180 turn into a profession that’d change his life forever. He talks about the risks of starting his own management company, insights into what he did differently to stand out from the crowd and a behind the scenes of what led his company to skyrocket to success.
No successful person makes it to the top without surrounding themselves with talented and trustworthy people. Music manager Paul Rosenberg (@rosenberg), who is also the CEO of Def Jam Records, is best known for the large role he’s played in one of the careers and lives of one of the most successful artists of all time–Marshall Mathers, also known as Eminem.
As explained in his interview with Cory Levy on OFF RCRD, Paul first started working with Marshall as his lawyer. After building up trust with Marshall and learning how the industry works, Paul adapted to become Marshall’s manager, which is a job he’s now had for nearly twenty years. In addition to his role as Marshall’s manager, Paul also runs his own management firm, Goliath Artists, is co-producer of the Shade 45 SiriusXM radio station, and is the new CEO of Def Jam Records. As the new CEO of Def Jam, Paul says that he is working to “go back to the blueprint, and make that label the thing that everybody got so passionate about in the first place.”
Paul has a long history of adapting to changes in his life and the music industry, from shifting from lawyer to music manager, to navigating music streaming, which has drastically changed the music industry. “You have to figure out what’s working to propel the industry forward, and become that. For me, I had always seen this coming for a really long time–the place that we’re in now. I had always hoped for it, so I was mentally prepared for a world of streaming. I for one, am very happy that we’re here,” says Paul.
Cory first met Paul, who is also an investor in After School, at a party for the U.S. launch of Spotify, and then again later through mutual friends. In this episode of OFF RCRD, Cory and Paul discuss how Paul got his start in the music industry, his experience working with Eminem, his work building companies, his new role with Def Jam Records, and his advice for young entrepreneurs.
“The most important advice that I can give, is try to work in something that you’re passionate about, because if you can do that, then you can always find enjoyment in your employment and enjoyment in your career. Because there’s going to be elements about it even through all the bad stuff that you don’t like; there’s going to be elements about it that you do. If you can find a way to work your passions into a career, overall you’ll be a much happier person,” says Paul.
How Paul became interested and involved in the music industry.
How Paul’s family reacted to him going from lawyer to music manager. “Yes, they were scared in the sense that they didn’t really understand what it was”
What matters when building a relationship.
How the way we use language has changed and where Paul thinks we’re headed.
The biggest lessons Paul has learned from Marshall over the last 20 years.
How Paul handles tough situations.
Paul talks about the mentors and role models who have helped him along the way.
Paul discusses the most important part of his daily routine.
Advice for people trying to figure out what direction to go with their career.
“I think that a lot of times, I don’t see people putting the work in that they need to.”
Paul on Def Jam. “I want to figure out how to go back to the blueprint, and make that label the thing that everybody got so passionate about in the first place”
How to adapt to changes.
What drives Paul.
How to build a network.
Podcasts Paul is currently listening to.